Help plant 1 million trees in Ireland in 1 day

Applications for tree packs close on 31 December

Ireland needs more native trees. Packs of trees for planting are now available as part of an initiative to plant one million trees in Ireland on just one day – Saturday 11 February 2017. If you are a landowner or a member of an organisation with suitable space, why not join in and order your trees – they are an ideal Christmas or New Year gift to our country, our planet, our children and future generations.


The not for profit group behind the initiative is called ‘One Million Trees in One Day’ and they provide the trees at a small charge. There are three types of tree packs that contain 50 trees per pack. There is a Woodland Pack, a Coppice Pack and a Hedge Pack and the vast bulk of the trees supplied are of native Irish provenance. Packs include appropriate mixes of oak, hazel, alder, rowan, birch, crab apple scots pine. Hawthorn and blackthorn are the main species in the Hedge Pack. Trees can be ordered online and are delivered to a location that is convenient for collecting them.

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Campaign to stop treating soil ‘like dirt’

Soils across the world are being eroded and degraded and combined with climate change it poses a challenge for all of us. In Europe a new campaign has been launched to bring about an initiative to protect soils now and for future generations. In Ireland People4Soil and The Environmental Pillar have joined in the campaign to petition for a soil directive across Europe. To sign the petition go to


People4Soil is concerned with the conservation of one of our most valuable non-renewable ppl 4 soil.pngresources: soil. We rely on soil to provide healthy food, clean water, support wildlife, store carbon, prevent flooding and ultimately to maintain livelihood across the world and here in Ireland. Ireland’s soils have come under increasing pressure from land use changes, intensification of agriculture, erosion and overgrazing, disposal of organic wastes to soils, afforestation, industry and urbanisation. Lost soil from these processes cannot be replaced and so we must protect them.

On RTE Radio the People4Soil spokesperson Klaus Laitenberger pointed out that the health of the soil in Ireland has deteriorated due to slurry spreading and compaction by heavy machinery. Worm populations have reduced since the traditional method of spreading farm yard manure has been abandoned. He said that farm supports in future should favour soil friendly farming.


The primary goal of the campaign is to acquire sufficient signatures for a European Citizen’s Initiative. If the European Citizens’ Initiative surpasses 1 million signatures from seven different member states the European Commission will have to prepare and propose a Soil Directive. This directive would make countries protect soils in the same way that they already protect water, air and nature under previously existing directives.

A Soil Seminar was organised as part of the launch of the People4Soil campaign in Ireland and it took place on World Soil Day, on Tuesday last, 5 December. The venue was the Education Centre of the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. Among the speakers were gardening author and People4Soil spokesperson Klaus Laitenberger, organic grower Nicky Kyle, Helen Kelly, Michael Ewing of the Environmental Pillar and Matthew Jebb Director of the Botanic Gardens

For more information on the People4Soil campaign see  and

December event can be found here

The ‘Transition’ of Irish Women

Collette Mc Entee of Transition Monaghan sees the presence of women at the decision making table as crucial. “We are half of the population and so our representation should reflect this,” she says. Collette attended and reports on the ‘Irish Women 1916-2116 Past, Present and Future’ event that took place at the Garage Theatre on Friday last. The event was hosted by Monaghan 5050, a group that strives to bring equality and a greater presence of women in electoral politics.


Collette Mc Entee

In this year of commemoration this event focused on inviting us to revisit and rethink the role of women in our society. A panel of four speakers, Ruth Taillon, Claire McGing, Mamo McDonald and Noirin Clancy led the discussion.

Minister Heather Humphreys opened the event and as one of just 35 women of 159 TDs (22%), she highlights the imbalance of our Irish voice. Humphreys actively campaigns towards this projected 50/50 ratio and has been appointing male dominated roles to women such as Chairperson of the National Museum of Ireland to Catherine Heaney and employing females as her drivers (Each minister gets two drivers. Humphreys is the only one to employ females in this role).


2016 has been a commemorative year of the 1916 Rising and I feel more versed than ever on the events and its contributors. The year has also highlighted the inaccurate documentation of the female counterpart in the fight for Irish Independence. Ruth Taillon is the author of ‘When History Was Made: the Women of 1916’ (1996) which identified over 200 female contributors to the Rising and today, research continues with the figure over 300 and growing. Taillon looked back on 1916 and touched on the 1880s Suffrage movement to the Ladies Land League to familiar characters such as Maud Gonne and Jennie Wyse Power – female oppression deeply rooted in our past.


Gonne is an example of the inaccuracy shrouded over our female counterparts. Gonne actively took part and led the Inghinidhe na hÉireann, a radical Irish nationalist group from 1900-1914. However, how is she remembered? As W.B.Yeats’ muse. Our English curriculum in schools has this ingrained in our minds. Last year marked Yeats’ 150th birthday and the 21st December marks Gonne’s. Let’s celebrate that!

maud         Maud Gonne

Claire McGing, a lecturer at Maynooth University, delved into the role of women in politics. In 2012, the gender quota legislation passed and specifies that at least 30% of party candidates for general elections should be female and at least 30% should be male.  In 2019, the quota will rise to 40%. This quota echoes Ireland’s 2020 ‘energy targets’ plan with failure to comply resulting in financial loss. In this case, the political parties will risk losing half of their annual funding from the Exchequer under the Electoral Act 1997. At present, the Dáil has the most women in its history but female representation has yet to rise above 16%. Local elections are not included in this legislation. In local authorities there are few councillors who are women, especially in the more rural counties.


Taking us down memory lane, Mamo McDonald, a former ICA president and local legend, painted a vivid picture of life as a woman of the 1950s onwards. McDonald begun with a few lines that were below a picture that hung in her childhood home;


It’s the little things that count…

Big things are very little after all

fame, fortune, reputation

are as dead sea fruit

without the background of a happy home


Mamo McDonald

Her account supported all those tales my grandparents have recounted to me of their simple yet happy, difficult yet fondly recalled lives. It also highlighted how far we have come and how much quicker we can get there today. In this whirl of advancement, change is accelerating. Rather than cower in a corner ridden with nostalgia for the simpler times, let’s use it to our advantage. A world of equality is within our sight.

The morning concluded with a thought provoking forecast of 2116 by Noirin Clancy, a 5050 representative. Clancy works part time with Longford Women’s Manifesto Project and showed us a really evocative video set in 2116 which predicts an Ireland of equality – 60% women representatives in the Dáil (with a push to reduce this back to equalise the ratio), a crèche in place of the bar in Leinster House, a safer Ireland with nearly 0% domestic violence.


Today, it can be overwhelming to digest the current global upheaval characterised with accelerating climate change, the election of Donald Trump, technology advancements, Brexit and much more. Resilience and respect are key. As life and the world chugs on, we have to keep defending what we have already won. Respecting each other and our world will encourage our growth as a society and as a healthy, sustainable world.

‘It’s the little things that count…’ resonated with me as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure how I and Monaghan can contribute. Taking a small portion of the problem ourselves and working collectively will bring ideas to realisation. Monaghan is a little place but it counts.

Events in December can be found here